hu·​la | \ ˈhü-lə How to pronounce hula (audio) \
variants: or less commonly hula-hula \ ˌhü-​lə-​ˈhü-​lə How to pronounce hula-hula (audio) \

Definition of hula

: a sinuous Polynesian dance characterized by rhythmic movement of the hips and mimetic gestures with the hands and often accompanied by chants and rhythmic drumming

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Did You Know?

A sinuous Polynesian dance, the hula combines undulating movement of the hips and mimetic hand gestures. The dance is often accompanied by chants, drumming, and music played on instruments such as the ukulele. Originally a religious dance performed to praise the chiefs, contemporary hulas tell a story or describe a place, and are danced exclusively by women. The costume typically includes a raffia skirt with a lei (garland) around the neck.

Examples of hula in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web After the final game, Oglivie’s mother, Helene Oglivie, a professional hula dancer, taught the team her moves. Kevin Armstrong, New York Times, "With Kids in Sports Bubbles, These Parents Are Desperate for a Way In," 22 Sep. 2020 This Polynesian party in Plano’s Legacy Hall will include hula and fire dancers, a limbo competition, Bacardi Rum tiki cocktails for sale in souvenir cups and a Hawaiian pig roast dinner from the chefs of Dock Local. Shannon Sutlief, Dallas News, "Fun things to do this month in Dallas-Fort Worth — online, outdoors and more," 27 Aug. 2020 When the sender rolls a hula hoop across flat ground, the thrower tries to strike the hoop with a ball. National Geographic, "The Summer Olympics are delayed. So let the games begin … at home.," 23 July 2020 Friends are seen Double Dutching, playing on a swing set, and hula-hooping. Eliza Huber,, "Tyler Mitchell’s Debut Photography Book Showcases Black Joy," 27 July 2020 Two women did push-ups in rhythm and an 8-year-old girl chased a pink hula hoop not far from her mother lifting weights. Brett Simpson,, "A new East Bay fitness community grows out of the crucible of coronavirus," 7 July 2020 Kids from different households who share art supplies or a hula hoop may spread covid-19. Constance Sommer, Washington Post, "Summer ‘camp’ with the neighborhood teens. Is it worth the risk?," 2 July 2020 Everyone would wear masks all day, and recess or physical education could mean students playing alone with their own ball or hula hoop. Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, "Schools issue warning: Coronavirus testing and tracing are needed before campuses reopen," 30 May 2020 Younger students walk through hallways holding hula hoops to prevent them from touching things. Skylar Rispens, USA TODAY, "'These kids are coming back': Reopened Montana school offers peek at what fall might bring," 26 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hula.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hula

1825, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hula


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Statistics for hula

Last Updated

26 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hula.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for hula


How to pronounce hula (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hula

: a Hawaiian dance that has flowing hand and hip movements

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